Photograph by Alex Gotfryd
Photograph by Nick Savard
"I learned to write on the kitchen floor. When I was little my mother would tear a picture out of Life Magazine and say, 'Laura Eleanor'--she was from Texas--'tell me a story about this picture'. So I would make up a story. When I started to write--big fat pencil, big-lined yellow paper--Mom told me to write it down. Voila, a storyteller was born--which was a good thing since I was a complete zero at everything else my mother wished I could do: draw. sing, ballet and play the piano."
"I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 1:15 on 11-11-55, something that always makes numerologists look at me twice. As I understand it, all those ones and fives mean I want to run everything while at the same time want to be free of everything--which of course is the perfect job description for a novelist."
"My family moved to Darien, Connecticut when I was ten months old. I was blessed with unbelievably talented teachers so I learned a great deal whether I was paying attention or not. My mother died when I was 11 and it really just nearly destroyed me. But my father remarried a wonderful woman, who was a widow, who raised me as her own, and I also gained a stepbrother and stepsister, with whom I am very close. A common theme in my novels is how family is a matter of the heart."
Journalism at The University of Arizona in Tucson; BS in Public Communications from The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University; Minor in English Literature
"Talk about sweeping change! From sunbathing at U of A to wading through waist-high snow in Syracuse! I adored everything about the Newhouse School at SU, though, and everything I learned there has served me very well. The gorgeous weather in Tucson made it so conducive to going out and socializing, while at SU it always seemed like we were trapped inside waiting for the weather to change, The latter setting, as you can imagine, was much more conducive to studying.
I always wanted to be a novelist. I knew in high school that I was in no way imaginable a literary writer. My strong suit was storytelling. So in college I thought maybe I should try to write for TV. Or go into advertising. Or maybe get a job at a publishing house. Or maybe a literary agency. The only thing I knew for sure is I HAD to work at something connected to creative writing. My mother gave me some sound advice: "Good typing and good manners will get you wherever you want to go, dear."
"After graduating I sat down with the want ads in the Sunday Times and circled all the TV, book publishing and advertising ads. Then I called the employment agency in Manhattan that had listed the most jobs and I was told to come in to see a lady named Sydelle, but that I would have to pass a typing test first. I thought I did okay on it but Sydelle said there was a lot of room for improvement. She liked the way I spoke and carried myself, though, and commended me on having good manners.
Sydelle told me the Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday was looking for a secretary but she wouldn't send me over unless I first got a job offer from J. Walter Thompson. So I interviewed there and got a job offer. Sydelle then made me practice the Doubleday typing test over and over. When I was later finally brought in to meet Stewart Richardson at Doubleday, he said, 'I see you did well on our typing test,' and I burst out laughing and confessed to the agency cheat sheet. He said I was hired."
I'll never forget when the Village Voice called Doubleday, "the Sears & Roebuck of fiction'. Some took it as a slight but I considered it the supreme compliment because it meant everybody in America read Doubleday novels .And you know what? They did! William F. Buckley, Jr., Taylor Caldwell, Allen Drury, Edna Ferber, Winston Graham, Arthur Hailey, Alex Haley, Victoria Holt, Stephen King, Alastair MacLean, Wilbur Smith, Wallace Stegner, Leon Uris, Phyllis Whitney., Herman Wouk and on and on."
"The editorial talent at Doubleday was staggering: Sally Arteseros, Loretta Barrett, Walter Bradbury, Lisa Drew, Ferris Mack, Kate Medina, Ken McCormick, Jackie Onassis, Betty Prashker, Sandy Richardson, Sam Vaughan. Good grief, the business manager for the trade group when I started there was no less than Maureen Mahon Egen, future Publisher and Deputy Chairman of Hachette!"
"I worked my way up from secretary to associate editor and felt honored to to work with some amazing writers. Because of my Newhouse background I became a go-to person at Doubleday on entertainment related books. One day in 1983 I found myself f being flown out to LA by 20th Century Fox to come up with some kind of DYNASTY book with the co-creator of the show, Esther Shapiro."
Shortly after DYNASTY was published, Lorimar Studios--producer of the rival TV show DALLAS--wanted to know who had written DYNASTY because there was no author listed. 'A young editor of ours put it together,' Loretta Barrett explained, 'Well,' the studio said, 'can we hire her to write a DALLAS book?' 'Not if she is an editor here,' Loretta said. 'But let me look into it.'"
"As Loretta found out, I wanted to write a novel in the worst way and had been trying to figure out a way to support myself while I learned how to write one. This project seemed ideal. I gave notice to Doubleday and signed a contract with Lorimar to write DALLAS, which led, in turn, to a brief tour as The Official Dallas Historian and creating a board game. After that came KNOTS LANDING and then I knew it was now or never, I had to finish that first novel. Happily, I did.
Five households on Riverside Drive in Manhattan share the same cleaning lady, Rosanne DiSantos:: Cassy and Michael Cochran are in television news; Howard Stewart is a book editor and wife Melissa a banker; Sam Wyatt is a business executive and wife Harriett a publicist; Amanda Miller is wealthy recluse; elderly Emma Goldblum lives with her cat. The novel chronicles what happens after the clients meet each other for the first time.
Publisher's Weekly: "Van Wormer's ... realistic characters and situations, combined with occasional blasts of sensationalized sex, will keep her readers turning the pages." Literary Guild Main Selection; Alternate Selection Doubleday Book Club. Optioned for TV. British, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish editions.
All the RIVERSIDE DRIVE characters appear in RIVERSIDE PARK. Alexandra Waring and Cassy Cochran are also in WEST END, ANY GIVEN MOMENT, TALK, EXPOSE, THE LAST LOVER, TROUBLE BECOMES HER, THE BAD WITNESS, THE KILL FEE, and MR. MURDER.
Six workaholics start a new television network in New York City: Bisexual Anchorwoman Alexandra Waring; Southern Media Tycoon Jackson Darienbrook; Despairing Darenbrook Inlaw, COO Langley Peterson; Newly Divorced Executive, Cassy Cochran; Party-Girl Talk-Show Host, Jessica Wright; and Clueless Fiancé , TV-Movie Producer Gordon Strenn.
Harper's Bazaar: “Alexandra Waring has the well-bred good looks of Diane Sawyer, the sharp mind of Connie Chung, the cool professionalism of Mary Alice Williams—and the off-screen traumas of the late Jessica Savitch.” Book-of-the-Month Club Featured Alternate. Optioned for TV. Czech, Dutch, French, Italian, Polish, UK editions.
Jessica Wright also appears in ANY GIVEN MOMENT. TALK, EXPOSÉ, THE LAST LOVER, TROUBLE BECOMES HER, THE BAD WITNESS, THE KILL FEE, MR. MURDER AND RIVERSIDE PARK. Jackson Darenbrook also appears in EXPOSÉ and RIVERSIDE PARK.
While reassessing her engagement to be married, dealing with the nightmare of her mother's suicide and trying to remain employed after a corporate buy-out, New York book editor Kate Weston is sent to Los Angeles to wring a bestselling autobiography out of difficult Hollywood star.
Kirkus Reviews: "Wise about the TV and book publishing fields, funny and sexy by turns, with an extremely elastic sense of the human heart." Condensation in Good Housekeeping, Literary Guild Alternate, Brilliance Audio, Japan
Kate Weston also appears in RIVERSIDE PARK.
Novelist Libby Winslow finds herself serving as a juror on a Manhattan murder trial with her stalker.
PW: "Libby is at first intrigued by fellow juror Alex... despite his "Marlboro Man" looks and pointed attentions, however, there is something off... She eventually finds herself drawn to the unassuming William, an investment banker with a heart of gold. As the trial heats up, so does Libby and William's relationship; similarly, juror Melissa, a recovering alcoholic, begins to come to terms with her attraction to a female client...Readers will stay up late to devour the novel's final pages."
Czech, Dutch, French, German,Italian, Polish, UK editions.
A bestselling historian, an Oscar-nominated actress and right-wing radio talk-show host defend the agents who launched their careers from a hostile Hollywood take-over. Love ensues!
PW "As spies infiltrate both camps, and the air bristles with sexual complications, an intricate tale of publishing chicanery unfolds. Malice and deceit lie at the heart of this savvy, occasionally salacious saga," Czech, Dutch, Italian, French, German, Polish, UK editions.
Georgiana Hamilton-Ayres reappears in TALK, THE BAD WITNESS and RIVERSIDE PARK,
A return to the DBS television network (WEST END). Talk-show host Jessica Wright is abducted from Rockefeller Center.
"Van Wormer's latest romantic thriller," Booklist wrote, "features characters from her earlier works, Riverside Drive and West End, and has enough intrigue, drama, and tangled relationships to give Jerry Springer pause. This hot summer read will appeal to fans of Joy Fielding and Nora Roberts" Czech, Dutch, French, Polish, UK editions.
"Van Wormer's latest romantic thriller," Booklist wrote, "features characters from her earlier works, Riverside Drive and West End, and has enough intrigue, drama, and tangled relationships to give Jerry Springer pause. This hot summer read will appeal to fans of Joy Fielding and Nora Roberts" Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, UK editions.
Mary Liz Scott moves into the guest house of her godmother's compound in glamorous East Hampton to untangle the complicated estate of her late husband. The dazzling display of wealth and celebrities is awe-inspiring--and so are the extra-marital affairs, money-laundering, blackmail and murders.
"Van Wormer has the glamorama Hamptons scene down to a T; the real-life celebrities and loosely veiled characters (a Barbara Streisandlike diva, a Donna Karanesque designer, etc.) that fill up the cast here make for a complicated romance/mystery as voyeuristic as it is fun... like reading the juiciest ‘People’ magazine possible, with an engrossing plot and a genuine flow of suspense.” Kirkus Czech, Dutch, French, Italian, Polish, UK editions.
Wendy Mitchell is a walk-on at DBS in the Sally Harrington mysteries.
The first of six Sally Harrington mysteries, in which a small town journalist gets a big break writing for a major magazine in New York.
“An appealing heroine,” wrote PW, “ends up playing Nancy Drew in a dangerous mystery connected to her family's past." “Romance, murder, and the inside dope on big-time article writing and TV journalism,” summarized Kirkus. “A surprising climax awaits." As Sally unravels the mystery in her hometown, negotiates high-society in New York, and tries to straighten out her love life, she maintains her enthusiasm and good-natured outlook."
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Cassy Cochran and Alexandra Waring are back.
Everything is great except Sally's boyfriend has disappeared with a movie star in L.A. and the boyfriend of the actress shows up at Sally's Connecticut home--and thereafter is murdered. DBS News assigns Sally to cover her own story.
“Full of unexpected plot twists and likable characters,” writes Booklist. “This follow-up to Exposé is an enjoyable, fast-paced mystery full of sex, murder, and Mafia intrigue." Czech, French, German, Italian, Polish, UK editions
Everyone from THE LAST LOVER is back. Plus DBS staff.
Sally Harrington's back -- and this time she's found a dead body in the trunk of her rental car, a lovesick college intern on her doorstep and a group of crazy assassins on her heels.
PW writers, "Van Wormer combines Manhattan chic with Godfather menace and Hollywood glitz to create an exotic playing field on which Sally is completely at home. Add a dozen or so well-drawn characters to the mix including the aging head of the Presario clan, a movie star looking for love, a mysterious federal agent and a starstruck college intern and things never get dull. This is a satisfying page-turner." Czech, French, German, Italian, Polish, UK editions
The Presario clan is back and so is DBS and Castleford.
On leave from DBS News in New York, Sally Harrington's in Los Angeles, where she's the key defense witness for a Hollywood producer accused of killing an East Coast mobster who once tried to kill Sally herself.
"Sally is a headstrong, risk-taking, sexy woman who thrives on fast action, danger and press attention." PW
The Presarios, DBS, Castleford
When Sally looks into her great uncle's sudden windfall of land she stumbles into a massive organized-crime land speculation scheme in upstate New York.
"Although the book relies heavily on repackaged cliches of the American dream of wealth, prestige and fabulousness," Publisher's Weekly writes, "Van Wormer supplies genuinely suspenseful moments, tasteful, deftly written love scenes and an ending that packs an emotional punch."
Paul Fitzwilliam, DBS
A killer known as Mr. Murder targets employees at the DBS television network, using them as sacrificial lures to obtain the object of his obsession: Sally Harrington.
PW: "Those seeking a deliciously gossipy insider look into the broadcasting world won't be disappointed. As a just-promoted news anchor, Sally spends most of the book chasing sponsors, not crooks, but this less cutthroat pursuit is plotted with Van Wormer's customary self-deprecating humor, eye for glamour and attention to convincing detail."
Paul Fitzwilliam, David Waring, DBS, Castleford
A swing back to the old Riverside Drive neighborhood to see what our old friends from Riverside Drive are up to. Uh-oh: marital infidelity, financial ruin, unplanned pregnancy, pending death and sex with a minor.
"The sequel to RIVERSIDE DRIVE is an enjoyable relationship drama" writes Mainstream Fiction.
Everyone from RIVERSIDE DRIVE, DBS, Sally Harrington.
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The biography of a poor Anglo-Irish girl whom Richard Brinsley Sheridan hired in 1778 at the Drury Lane Theatre in London. Almost twenty years later to the day, she became the second wife of the 12th Earl of Derby (the man who invented The Derby at Epson Downs). Unfortunately for Elizabeth, a few character assassinations of her still exist--written by jealous rivals and would-be lovers--that have misled modern historians into believing she was a conniving seductress. Far from it!
I have been tracking clues to the real life story of this lovely lady for twenty-five years, ever since I read the oddly phrased caption next to her Lawrence masterpiece portrait in the Metropolitan Museum. It has not been easy because Elizabeth and the Earl instructed their personal correspondence be destroyed upon their deaths. Sadly, their wishes were honored. My search has taken me to castles and collections all over England, Ireland and the U.S. to piece the story together.
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My partners (from book publishing, marketing, computer engineering, Wall Street and commercial law) and I founded the firm to teach established authors how to use the new technology to introduce their work to new generations of readers. We also wanted to cross-reference eBooks by individual content (including fiction) so that readers could, for the first time, truly be able to wander and browse and discover ANY title by ANY author online. Our work was abruptly cut short by my accident.
Despite the closing of our New York offices after the accident Author & Company still offers a vibrant backlist in eBook and print formats. It was a joy to work with these writers.
The Grumbly Pug
This is our online eBook retail system that is in storage. For inquiries regarding acquisition of the system, or to reach the computer engineers who designed it, please email CKatz@authorandcompany.com
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